Seth – 2019 Creator Keynote Speaker
Seth is the award-winning cartoonist behind the comic book series Palookaville, a semi-annual hardcover. His comics have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Best American Comics, and McSweeney’s Quarterly. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications including the cover of the New Yorker, The Walrus, and Canadian Notes & Queries. He is also the designer for several classic comics reprint series, notably the collections of work by Charles Schulz, John Stanley, and Doug Wright. Seth has exhibited throughout the world in a variety of group and solo shows including exhibitions of his model city Dominion, which toured Galleries in Eastern and Central Canada as well as select galleries the world over. He was also the subject of the National Film Board documentary entitled Seth’s Dominion.
Qiana Whitted – 2019 Scholar Keynote Speaker
Qiana Whitted is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. A graduate of Hampton University with a PhD from Yale University, her research focuses on African-American literary studies and American comic books. Her publications include the edited collection, Comics and the U.S. South (Mississippi, 2012) and the book A God of Justice?: The Problem of Evil in Twentieth-Century Black Literature (Virginia, 2009). She is an associate editor of INKS: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society and Chair of the International Comic Arts Forum. Her most recently published articles and book chapters explore race, genre, and comics in representations of historical figures such as Nat Turner, Stagger Lee, and Emmett Till. Her forthcoming book on race and social protest in 1950s EC comics will be published by Rutgers University Press in 2019.
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Will Arnold – http://www.workpandp.com
Work Press & Publication is an independent print and publishing house founded in 2013 by Will Arnold and Tate Foley. Work Press started because of a mutual interest in small-press, short-run, desktop publishing and Risograph printing. We are interested in creative projects that situate themselves in a mezzanine between fine artist’s books and efficiently produced zines. While a lot of Work Press’s books and prints contain various printing and production processes, Risograph printing is at the heart of our shop.
Andre Batts – http://www.urbanstylecomics.com
Born May 4, 1966, grew up on the west side of Detroit, the only family member that had a love for comic books such as Dr. Strange, the X-men and the Avengers. He was a self-taught artist who learned to draw by looking at the images that were in the comics he read. During his teenage years, Andre had to buy his comics at comic book specialty shops outside the urban Detroit area. It seemed to him that they were trying to keep African-Americans from having access to these comics, unless they had the means to go into the suburbs. After years have passed by, Andre began studying the Medu Neter and all that was related to his African culture. He started realizing that there wasn’t enough African-American representation in comic books, yet African-Americans were spending a lot of money on comic books, including him. Andre realized a lot of comic book stories stemmed from ancient African Myths and Spirituality. The Myths were watered down to fit characters such as Superman, the X-men and others in the Marvel, D.C. Universes. Heavily influenced by the books he read in his 20’s and 30’s, as well as the music he listened to (Reggae and conscious Hip Hop), Andrew began writing and developed his own likeness in an African American character called Dreadlocks in 1995. He released his first Dreadlocks title in 1996 and he has been rolling them out ever since.
Bigmouth Comix – http://bigmouthcomix.com
Bigmouth is a blog and distro project uplifting the work of women and gender nonconforming illustrators and comic creators from AMEMSA (African, Middle East, Muslim, South Asian) countries and their diasporas.
Though the artists featured on Bigmouth come from a wide range of ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds, their work is connected by common thematic threads addressing issues and intersections of topics such as Orientalism, imperialism, race/ethnicity, spirituality, war, gender, sexuality, and diaspora.
Bill Campbell – http://www.rosariumpublishing.com
Bill Campbell is the author of Sunshine Patriots, My Booty Novel, and Pop Culture: Politics, Puns, “Poohbutt” from a Liberal Stay-at-Home Dad and Koontown Killing Kaper. Along with Edward Austin Hall, he co-edited the groundbreaking anthology, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. He also co-edited the Locus award-nominated anthology, Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany, with Nisi Shawl, the charity comics anthology, APB: Artists against Police Brutality, with Jason Rodriguez and John Jennings, and Future Fiction: New Dimensions in International Science Fiction. His forthcoming anthology project, Sunspot Jungle Vols. I and II, feature over 100 SFF short stories from around the world. Campbell is currently working on the spaceploitation comic, Baaaad Muthaz, with David Brame and Damian Duffy. He lives in Washington, DC, where he spends his time with his family, helps produce audio books for the blind, and helms Rosarium Publishing, which specializes in comics and SFF with a multicultural flair.
Brian Canini – https://drunkencatcomics.com/ Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio Brian Canini has been cartooning and creating stories ever since he took hold of his first crayon. Allowing his imagination to grow has enabled him to create worlds of characters of all shapes and sizes.
A natural storyteller he fell in love with comics at six when he received his first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Inspired by the characters and the movement of the story gave Brian the spark to ignite his passion that would become his life. His childhood became filled with creations of his imagination in making his own comics.
Once he turned eighteen and while attending school he pushed himself and self-published his first comic, Drunken Cat Presents.
Graduate from Antonelli College in Cincinnati with a degree in Graphic Design as well as a graduate from The Art Institute of San Diego with a degree in Web Design and Interactive Media. Brian utilizes knowledge from both fields in order to produce, design, and develop images and effects to grasp his readers and hold his audience.
He follows his belief that to create art the art style must feel right for the story and this has led him to harness a vast array of styles and techniques in an ever growing number of genres. Through his efforts in self-publishing he has created the award-winning autobio graphic novel Fear of Flying, the critically-acclaimed crime comic Ruffians, and is one half of the team duo that produces the award-winning webcomic Drunken Cat.
Bob Corby – http://www.backporchcomics.com
Bob Corby is the guy who runs SPACE (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) in Columbus. He is gainfully employed as a structural engineer. In between working, eating, and sleeping he draws comics to keep his sanity. He also publishes Oh,Comics! an annual anthology comic which has been published since 1988. Other publications include Leaves, Amazing Tales of Entropy, Test! and numerous minicomics. All are available at www.backporchcomics.com.
Flor de Canela – https://www.flordecanela.us/
Flor de Canela is a vivacious Latina woman who is a self-taught, degree certified artist with over 20+ years’ experience in creating illustrations, graphic arts, & fine arts in various media. Her creative nature has fueled an enthusiastic passion for the arts and everything she does. Flor appreciates being a part of the vibrant and ever-growing Columbus art/cartoonist community.
In 2016, she debuted her first comic series: Stuck-Up Unicorn Comics at the Columbus Independents Day Festival, solidifying her lifelong dream of becoming a cartoonist. She has since published numerous SUUC comic strips online and put together two collections. Stuck-Up Unicorn Comics has been described as “an eclectic collection of comics, featuring Flor’s insights, flights of fancy and quirky sense of humor.”
Stuck-Up Unicorn Comics is published through French Toast Press, a collaboration with her husband and studio mate, Max Ink (writer/artist of the Blink graphic novel series and Thinklings auto-bio comics). Flor and Max are Creative Consultants for each other’s works, and while Max is Flor’s writer/story editor, she is his colorist/tone artist. French Toast Studios is also the entity which Flor and Max use when they create original comics together and when they collaborate on freelance and commission works.
Flor de Canela is presently working on a new autobiographical comic book series, The Umbrella Chronicles, in which she’ll explore different aspects of her life’s past and–through the surreal landscape of her artist’s soul–delve into chapters of self-discovery, self-acceptance and finding her self’s place in the universe. Flor will be launching a fundraising campaign this year to drum up support and help fuel her ambition to scale the heights of this story that she’s always wanted to write, draw and share. https://www.patreon.com/FlordeCanela
Sean Dempsey – http://www.smdempseycomics.com
Sean graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art. His independent comics focus on curiosity and adventure through traveling or misfit characters. Whether in a comic, illustration, or cartoon, Sean’s stories embrace a balance of innocent and cynical protagonists. He hopes to create diverse, relatable characters that the audience can witness their inner growth, discovery, and individuality.
Terry Eisele – http://www.terryeisele.com/ Terry Eisele has taught English for over twenty five years in places as far flung as the Czech Republic, Switzerland, California, and Ohio. He is currently a professor at Columbus State Community College. He received a master’s degree in comparative cultural studies from the Ohio State University. Terry is the writer of the three-volume graphic novel, With Only Five Plums, which tells the life story of a Czech holocaust survivor who he interviewed three times in the mid-1990s. His latest project, Far Tune, is a coming-of-age graphic novel about a fourteen-year-old Somali refugee girl living in Columbus, Ohio. He reads comics, supports Arsenal Football Club, and writes in his spare time.
Matt Feazell – http://cynicalman.com/
Matt Feazell is a freelance cartoonist and graphic artist living and working in Hamtramck, Michigan. He’s worked for newspapers and ad agencies turning out catalogs, magazines and weekly newspapers. His comics and spot illustrations have appeared in Disney Adventures and Nickleodeon Magazine and his regular weekly series, The Amazing Cynicalman appeared in the Hamtramck Review and Flint Comix & Entertainment as well as at cynicalman.com.
Michael Fehskens – http://www.michaelfehskens.com
Michael Fehskens is a midwestern artist and author. Born in Pennsylvania and graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design, where he studied illustration and comic art. Wrote and illustrated children’s books and graphic novels full of animals, lush landscapes, and psychedelic cosmic nonsense. His unique style is often compared to a combination between Alex Grey & Doctor Seuss.
Jandro Gamboa – https://www.labishka-ink.com/
Jandro Gamboa is an award-winning writer and creator of Monty Gomez Is The Luchador. He is also a full-time teacher.
Brandon Hankins – https://brandonlionhearted.com/
Brandon L. Hankins is a comics creator and ink painter from Detroit, currently living in East Lansing, Michigan. He focuses on telling action-packed and meaningful fantasy stories, intent on affecting people positively and profoundly. A student of the Japanese art of ink painting, or sumi-e, Brandon strives to infuse every stroke of his brush with life, energy, and honesty.
Christy Hans – https://www.facebook.com/OrcQuest/
Christy Hans is working towards her BFA at Michigan State University with a minor in comic book illustration. She has a long history in independent comics, having been published in anthologies like Comics Obscura. Christy is also the writer for the web comic Orc Quest. Her other artistic endeavors include ceramics, pottery, and water color painting. When she is not drawing or covered in clay, she enjoys playing video games, weaving, or knitting.
Max Ink –http://maximilianink.com
Max Ink has been writing and drawing his own style of comic books for nearly four decades. He’s created comics in a variety of genres– fantasy, science fiction, magical realism and even a series featuring anthropomorphic super heroes. These days, Max’s style of choice is a down-to-earth comic series called BLINK, which is set in his adopted hometown of Columbus, Ohio. The series features a mix of 20-something friends who live, work and basically just hang out and talk, living their lives to the best of their ability and enjoying themselves. BLINK has been described as “real life on the printed page,” as well as “philosophical,” “wildly entertaining” and “a wonderful slice-of-what-I-wish-my-life-was-like” kind of comic. In 2011, Max published his first BLINK graphic novel, So Far, which was a finalist for the SPACE Prize (twice), and is taking his time writing and drawing the follow-up, So It Goes. He also took some time off in 2014-15 to play around with a meta-fiction-auto-bio web comic, Thinklings. In 2016, he began collaborating with his (then girlfriend/now) wife, Flor de Canela, who’s a gifted artist and writer. Flor’s created her own humor webcomic series, Stuck-Up Unicorn, and is developing a new surrealistic semi-autobio series, The Umbrella Chronicles. As of 2018, Flor has become his official tone artist on the BLINK series. Together they create commissioned works as French Toast Studios.
Kyle Latino – http://www.shedwarf.com
Kyle Latino has been drawing comics since 2009. His first self-published work was Gideon’s Trip, which embraced the then new digital format of the iPhone and iPod Touch with a unique scrolling format. His comics work has been published in Image’s anthology Outlaw Territory Vol. 3, Monkeybrain’s digital Comixology exclusive Prime 8’s, and Fresh Romance from Rosy Press. Kyle currently works on his fantasy webcomic, The Savage Beard of She Dwarf, and lives with his wife and cat in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Morgan E. Lees – http://cornerthemaze.net
Morgan E. Lees is a freelance illustrator and comic creator who studied fine art at Lansing Community College and works in watercolor and ink. She is also a web designer, and has previously spent many years in community theater directing shows, designing lights and sound, and designing make-up. Morgan lives in East Lansing, Michigan along with her family and three cats.
Zachary Lehner – http://www.zlehner.com
Zach Lehner is an illustrator, designer, and occasional teacher for all things related to children’s entertainment and education. His best known work is Junior Braves of the Apocalypse from Oni Press, which is a story about boys running away from zombies, but he’s also done work involving everything from cute werewolves to aliens imparting language education. He likes making people smile and eating too many cookies.
Adam Lopez – https://merrittroadcomics.wordpress.com/ Adam Lopez is a graduate from Michigan State University, with a degree in Media & Information (3D Graphics and Animation) with a double minor in Comic Art & Graphic Novels and Animation & Comics Storytelling in Media. Adam is focused on making comics that spark the imagination and take the reader on an adventure. Adam lives in Okemos, Michigan with his wife, Kari, daughter Nova, and their dog, Zorro.
Pära Low – http://studiolinaer.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art/
Pära makes comics, zines, illustrations, and more. Her work is currently focused on Asian mythology, but she likes to delve into a variety of different topics. Her comics often cover psychology, philosophy, and culture.
Jeff Manley – http://studygroupcomics.com/main/
Jeff Manley is a cartoonist. The kind of cartoonist loved by other cartoonists. A real cartoonist’s cartoonist. Manley has published over a dozen books. His latest is Abandon Ship, a collection of stories that were never finished. Jeff is currently pitching his graphic novel Zero Adventure to publishers, and working on a comic strip about being parents in love.
Shaun Manning – https://www.shaunmanning.com
Shaun Manning is the writer and co-creator of Macbeth: The Red King; Hell, Nebraska; and Interesting Drug, and has written for Star Wars Adventures, Dark Horse Presents, and Thought Bubble.
He created Solution Squad to help his students learn math in a fun and engaging way. For his efforts, he won the 2014 Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship. Since then, he has traveled the country speaking on the use of comics to teach STEM (math, specifically) ranging from New York Comic Con to Comic-Con International in San Diego, and many points between. He was recently named the 2018 Pop Culture Educator of the Year by Pop Culture Classroom.
Rose McClain – http://www.rosemcclain.com
Rose McClain is a comic artist and illustrator based in northern Indiana who is known for her colorful, animated art style. Her hobbies include gaming, programming, and watching her cat sleep.
Nick Melanshek – http://www.mindcorecomics.com
I’ve been self-publishing my own comics since 2015. I have am the writter and illustrator for my comic books. My first series is White Cell Inoculation. It’s a 6 issue mini series that I have also turned into a collected paperback. Following the completion of White Cell Inoculation, I created Big Man down. It is a 5 issue mini series that will also be combined into a collected paperback once the series is completed. My next project will be White Cell Reevolution. It will be a sequel to the White Cell Inoculation series. White Cell Reevolution will be completed as a 2 part collected series.
Mary Mitchell – https://dyzkeiwipsite.weebly.com/dyzkei.html
A current Graphic Design student in their senior year who minors in Comic Art. I hope to make comics in the future and develop my creations!
Lisa Neffziger – https://lisanaffziger.crevado.com/ Lisa Naffziger is a comic artist and children’s book illustrator from the midwest. In March of 2014, she graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art. She is a full-time freelance artist, known for illustrating the graphic novel, Life’s Questions Answered and the children’s book, Ozzie the Courageous Otter. Her third graphic novel (1st with Iron Circus Comics) is set to debut in early 2019.
Nate Powell – http://www.seemybrotherdance.org
Nate Powell (b. 1978, Little Rock, Arkansas) began self-publishing at age 14 and graduated from School of Visual Arts in 2000. He is the first cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award. His work includes the new graphic novel Come Again and civil rights icon John Lewis’ graphic memoir trilogy March, as well as You Don’t Say, Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole, The Silence of Our Friends, and Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero. Powell’s work has received a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, three Eisner Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, four YALSA Great Graphic Novels For Teens selections, the Walter Dean Myers Award, and is a two-time finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has discussed his work at the United Nations, as well as on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and CNN. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
Corinne Roberts – http://www.corinneroberts.net
Corinne Roberts has written and illustrated Trip to Trekka, Imaginary Sea 1,2,3! and the web comic/comic book Out and About.
Along with her books, she illustrated the webcomic, Kitty Game and the card game, Unreal Estate. As a watercolorist, Corinne currently teaches at Kendall College of Art and Design in the Continuing Studies program and continues to teach numerous workshops and classes throughout West Michigan.
Lora Root – https://lemonbrows.wixsite.com/lemonbrows
Lora Root is a strapping young comics artist currently studying at Michigan State University. She is part of MSU’s Comic Art and Graphic Novel minor and uses her work to illustrate themes of loss, coping and getting by in different spheres of life.
Dawn Wing – http://wingart.wixsite.com/wingart
Dawn Wing is a comics artist and reference & instruction librarian at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, MN. She enjoys creative experimentation with text and research materials, and encourages her students to do the same. Dawn has been making comics and zines since 2005. Her work has been exhibited and published in Spain, Germany and all over the United States. She has studied with cartoonists Lynda Barry and Josh Neufeld. She is currently working on a non-fiction graphic narrative manuscript about the lives of two historic, pioneering Chinese American women called, Tien Fu Wu and Tye Leung Schulz: Translators for Justice.
Charlie Woodside – https://www.instagram.com/bmmc.art/
Charlie Woodside is a Lansing based indie artist. He has make a few comics and short films. Charlie is currently in pursuit of a degree in film from MSU while making comics. In his free time you can catch him on the Quidditch pitch or the Judo mats.